A Generation Z Rider Gives His Take On Harley’s Hot Cruiser
Some call it a cruiser. Others call it a wannabe bagger. And some even see it as the offspring of both. Meet the 2020 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide, the “go-anywhere, do-anything” motorcycle!
Now before you take to the comment section below with remarks about how any Harley can put down serious miles as long as the rider astride it is “hardcore” enough or a “true motorcyclist,” let me first preface my assertion and hear me out.
Yes, you are right in saying that any motorcycle can go anywhere or do anything with the right modifications. But let’s face it, the majority of us won’t find a cross country trip on an Iron 883 very enjoyable just as many of us want something more nimble than a near 900 lb. Ultra Limited when it comes to weaving through your morning traffic jam. Not all motorcycles are built with versatility in mind. Many motorcycles are purpose-built machines with a specific mission in mind- to either lay down rubber from stoplight to stoplight or to comfortably put down miles from one side of the country to the other.
The Sport Glide is Harley-Davidson’s “Swiss Army Knife” motorcycle. It is a multi-purpose built motorcycle from the factory. This is the bike that you can ride around town from stop light to stop light with plenty of low-end torque to put a smile on your face. You can take it to go retrieve $100 worth of groceries and not have to worry about said groceries getting crushed in a backpack. You can ride it to and from work or school and not have to worry about where you’ll store your riding gear or personal belongings. When the desire to hit the road and travel overcomes you, saddle up because the Sport Glide can do that as well! And mark my words, after clocking over 800 miles on the Harley-Davidson Sport Glide over the course of a week and a half, I can most definitely say the Sport Glide did all of this with ease. In case you don’t believe me, make sure to watch my full video review on the Sport Glide below & hear my top 3 reasons to buy this bike!
Even before picking up the Sport Glide for this story, I liked the styling of the bike and had an appreciation for it within the Softail lineup. But my appreciation for the machine only grew in my time with it. I found myself riding more than I ever had before simply because riding became so easy. I no longer found myself coming up with excuses not to ride due to storage space or comfortability and that’s not without reason. From the factory, the Sport Glide comes equipped with quick detach clam shell style hard bags and a quick detach fairing. And when I say quick detach, I mean the bike can go from fully dressed to a naked cruiser in a matter of 2 minutes, if that. I found the clam shell style bags to be very usable in that you can jam quite a bit into them. In these side-opening bags I managed to fit my Canon 50d camera and a full size, fold up tripod along with my Oakley Kitchen Sink backpack (emptied out and folded up). On a separate occasion, I took the bike to the grocery store and managed to fit $100 worth of groceries in the bags including a gallon of milk, eggs, chicken thighs, bagels, cheese singles, ground turkey, ground beef, 2 steaks, a frozen meal, a bag of green beans, broccoli, parchment paper, ziplock bags, and ham cold cuts. Now normally, as a “naked sport bike” rider, if I needed to go grocery shopping, riding the bike would be out of the question and I’d be driving my truck but given the Sport Glide’s storage capacity I found myself once again riding when I normally wouldn’t be.
Looking past daily commuter activities like going to work or the grocery store, I found that the Sport Glide also makes a fantastic touring motorcycle after doing a 500 mile day trip from Milwaukee to Lacrosse, Wisconsin and back. As previously mentioned, the storage capacity of the clam shell style bags is adequate enough to keep a backpack off your shoulders for long distance travels but the bike also comes stock from the factory with a whole host of other features that make this bike perfect for long distance touring. The Sport Glide features a 5 gallon gas tank, cruise control, an easily adjustable rear mono shock suspension, a USB port to charge your phone, and a fairly comfortable stock seat paired with forward controls so you can set back and enjoy the open road. Leading up to my day trip, I never imagined the bike would be as comfortable as it was; I truly thought my butt would be hurting after 100 miles but was pleasantly surprised to experience no discomfort until I was about 350 miles into my trip. Although the quick detach batwing fairing is quite small, it did a surprisingly good job at keeping wind off my chest which I was extremely grateful for, given that it was a 40 degree day here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Speaking on behalf of the suspension and handling, this trip conveniently allowed me to put the bike to the test on some twisties. I found that the Sport Glide did indeed live up to the “Sport” in Sport Glide and handled especially well at least within my riding capabilities as a younger rider (I must admit I’m no street Rossi and only once scraped a peg). Although I didn’t do this trip with a passenger, I did get a chance to play around with adjusting the mono shock on a night ride through the city with my significant other riding two up. Truth be told I rode a majority of the ride without any adjustments only to realize that was an option while at a stoplight, and man-oh-man, did I notice the difference. Not only does this bike live up to the “Sport” in its name but it also seemed to live up to the “Glide” in its name, as it seemed to glide over railroad tracks and any other bumps I rode over.
So enough about the features- How does this bike actually make me feel? The Sport Glide shows me that the possibilities for motorcycle adventures are limitless whether it be riding as a part of my daily commute or exploring different odds and ends of the country. Due to the bike’s versatility, I feel like I can ride on a daily basis without ever needing to get in my car. I can strip it down for around town riding or I can keep the bags and fairing on and go on a long trip. As a naked sport bike rider, being able to comfortably do a long-distance trip always seemed out of the question. So when my friends decide they want to do a 3,000 mile cross country trip, instead of saying no, I can now include myself in those adventures. The Sport Glide provided me with a sense of belonging, allowing me to fit in with multiple different walks of life.
Overall, the Sport Glide is an absolutely amazing machine. After returning the keys I truthfully found myself scouring the web searching for a Sport Glide of my very own! But let’s be real, there’s always room for improvement. Although there’s not much I don’t like about this bike, in the future I’d like to see more factory customization options like paint-matched hard bags, the option to upgrade to Street Glide style top opening hard bags, a few more color options such as: matte white, nardo grey, and a bright blue, and the option to ditch the chrome for a blacked out, younger aesthetic. Personally, I’d kill for a white Sport Glide, ditch the chrome with a 2-1 SuperTrapp Industries exhaust, Memphis Shades Road Warrior fairing, a sissy bar, and some performance modifications to call it my own.
What do you think of the Sport Glide? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out my personal YouTube channel & Instagram where I post weekly Moto-Vlogs, bike reviews, industry news, and reviews on the latest moto gear!
Nathan “GenZ Biker” Baron